If the Chicago Bears plan to beat the New England Patriots on Sunday, they have to attack with Tarik Cohen
While everyone is freaking out over Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen and the long-term implications of these decisions, Matt Nagy already told you the plan. He is going to decide which back leads the way based on matchups.
The fact of the matter is that over the past couple of weeks, the matchups dictate Tarik Cohen being on the field. Being in a plus matchup is why Tarik Cohen was so successful in these games.
So, heading into their Week Seven matchup with the New England Patriots, the narrative likely is going to be that Howard is on the way out. That is because the matchup calls for the Chicago Bears to attack the Patriots, and find success with Tarik Cohen.
The Patriots defense currently ranks 19th overall in DVOA, 19th against the pass. This dragged down a bit by how poor they have been against running backs in the passing game.
The team currently ranks 19th in efficiency against running backs in the passing game. They also rank 22nd in success rate.
This started back in the Super Bowl. Remember Corey Clement and his breakout? He put up 100 yards and a touchdown deep down the field on the Patriots.
Early into the 2018 season, the idea has been the same. It started with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Everyone was so surprised by the Jaguars success without Leonard Fournette. However, Fournett could not torch the Patriots in the passing game in the way that Clement did. Corey Grant could, though and had a nice little day with six receptions for 56 yards.
The Miami Dolphins got completely out of their gameplan in a blow out loss and did not test the Patriots in this area. Neither did the Detroit Lions.
However, the Indianapolis Colts put Nyheim out as a pass catcher and has some success. They got him involved all over the field to get him one-on-one with the New England Patriots linebackers.
Then. Kareem Hunt came. No offense to Hines, Grant, and Clement, but they cannot adequately show the impact of a weakness like a player such as Kareem Hunt.
The Chiefs had a lot of success getting Kareem Hunt lined up with linebackers down the field. The Patriots had a communication breakdown passing off Hunt on his touchdown reception.
Hunt also torched Dont’a Hightower in the play linked here. Mahomes missed an easy touchdown. The fact is that while Hightower did have an interception, and is still a stalwart against the run, he is a liability in coverage deep down the field against speed. If Hightower lines up on Cohen, Cohen will win.
When looking at the best running backs regarding yards created in the passing game, Kareem Hunt ranks sixth, and Tarik Cohen ranks seventh.
Grant, Hines, and Clement all rank lower than Jordan Howard in that area so far in 2018.
The Chicago Bears may not want to get into a shootout with Tom Brady. At the same time, Tom Brady is going to force them to come out of their cage and score. When the Bears need a play, they need to call on Tarik Cohen. Whether it be a changing of the guard, a sign of a trade, or whatever, I think it is a smart decision based on the matchup. That is probably what Matt Nagy is thinking as well.